Friday, October 28, 2011

Hawaii Cruise - Day 2

Unfortunately, the day dawn cold and cloudy. We both slept fairly well and got up shortly after 7am. Not bad, actually. We got down to breakfast at 8, and were seated with 2 other couples. I had remembered the corned beef hash and eggs as having been pretty good last time, so I ordered it this morning. There were 2 problems with this - one I should have remembered and one new one. It seems that eggs are a long lead time item, and it can take quite a while for an egg order to come out. We had observed that on our last cruise. The new thing was that the hash just wasn't very good. Too much fat and gristle. Oh well. Rachel was then off to her Zumba and Boot Camp classes, so I had a quite morning writing up yesterday's blog entry.

Just before 11:00, I headed down to the room to meet Rachel. She had finished her 2 workouts, and was finishing her shower. We then headed down to the Queen's Lounge for our first cooking demo by chef Pablo. Today he made Creme Brûlée and an interesting looking lobster salad. Both recipes were from Le Cirque and would be featured at the Pinnacle Grill on Le Cirque nights. They had mini creme brûlée cups available to sample, and it was some of the best I've ever had. Chef Pablo is also very engaging and is a great teacher - much better than the chef on the last cruise. He told of being very careful not to waste any food. In fact, at home he has a bunny to whom he feeds a lot of the veggie scraps. He then went on to say that when the bunny is nice a fat... Hmm.

After the cooking demo is was, yes, you guessed it, time to eat again. We went down to the dining room, hoping to find Mama and Aunt Merna. We didn't see them, so we checked in and went to be seated. As they were taking us to a table, we saw Mama waving us over to a table for 4 that they had already gotten. Lunch was very good, and included wonderful talapia. I've beein ordering a lot of fish because the chefs here really do seem to do a great job with it. Rachel has been ordering the cold soups and enjoying them also.

After lunch, we got to relax for a few minutes before it was time for our first wine tasting. Our master sommelier, Bernie, was the same guy as on the last cruise, and was really quite good. He led us through a tasting of a Mondavi Riesling (bright and crisp, good florals), an over-oaked Toasted Head Chardonnay, a decent Vin du Pays Pinot Noir from Burgundy, and a very nice California Cab from "Three Blind Moose". We enjoyed it, but had to duck out slightly early for, wait for it, more food.

It was the Royal Dutch High Tea, and we met Mama and Aunt Merna outside the dining room. There was quite a line to get in, mainly because it was actually a buffet line to get the little canapés and other assorted snackage. I restrained myself to just a few, and had a nice cup of decaf tea.

As I mentioned yesterday, we had been assigned "open seating" for dinner, and had requested a change to the early seating. At one point during the day today, we found a note in our mailbox telling us that we'd been moved to early seating - yay! So at 5:30 we all showed up at the dining room in our formals to meet our new table mates. Apparently they had all just been changed to early seating also, so it was everyone's first night at the table. We are at a table of 8 with 2 other couples: Gus and Rita from Sarasota FL, and John and Carol from the LA area. John and Carol are quite the dancers and we ended up seeing them later in the evening on the dance floor (they were, we weren't). Anyway, dinner was great again. I started with steamed mussels in a garlic veggie broth and then had some very competent potato leek soup. For the main course, I had some fabulous lamb chops. Wow, that's one disadvantage of writing this the next day - I don't remember what else I had, but it certainly was good. We had a bottle of Perrin et Fis Cote du Rhone (complete with a screw top). Bernie says that at least it won't be corked, although it could be screwed.

After dinner we headed up to the Crow's Nest to hear Chris on guitar. He was wonderful again, and at least at the beginning, had a slightly larger audience than last night. We listened to him until about 8:45, and then went down to hear Elvis hour in the Ocean Bar. The jazz trio was playing Elvis tunes, with the piano player in full costume, including a wig! They were pretty good, and the bar and dance floor were packed with elderlies enjoying the musing and dancing. It was SRO. We stayed for about 45 minutes, enjoying everything they played. They it was back to the Queen's Lounge for Vivienne and the Halcats. There were more dancers there, including John and Carol, as well as an older couple who were amazing dancers. They were so much fun to watch. The Halcats were good too, but Vivienne seemed about 1/4 tone flat on her sustained notes - yuck! They took a break at about 10:45, and we decided to call it a night. We wandered back to our room, set the clocks back an hour, and went to bed, ready for another exciting day tomorrow.

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